*** BIG THANK YOU for all your lovely messages in response to the news that Dinner made the New York Times best sellers list! Who ever thought a cookbook with a dog on the cover would become a NYT best seller. 😂***
As for today’s recipe – a healthy dose of cumin plus a good amount of onion and leek keeps things interesting with this Sweet Potato Soup! If leeks are a bit pricey, use more onion instead. Serve with a shower of something crunchy – croutons, nuts, crispy shallots. I used flatbread ribbons and pistachios.
Sweet potato soup
A basic sweet potato soup is made with garlic, onion and sweet potato boiled in stock that is then blitzed. It’s fine, but it’s kind of boring (sorry!).
A carton of cream and giant hunk of cheesy garlic bread will go a long way to make it more interesting. But as a general rule, I like my soups to be able to stand on their own two feet without relying on too many extras to prop it up.
Today’s flavour dial ups come in the form of lots of onion and leek, plus a whole tablespoon of cumin. Gosh, it’s amazing what a difference it makes to turn “fine” into “OMG THIS IS SO DELICIOUS!!”
All you need for The Sweet Potato Soup
Here’s all you need. The recipe only calls for 1/3 cup cream (80 ml!) for a touch of creamy mouthfeel. We don’t need much because the generous amount of leek & onion plus the cumin adds great flavour. Without these, I’d be using a lot more cream!
Leeks and onions – These add a flavour boost without having to resort to loads of cream or tons of spices to make this soup really tasty. If leeks are a bit pricey (as they can be during some months of the year) just use an extra onion instead. Just one onion to replace two leeks. Why? Because leeks have a more subtle, mild taste than onion. Two extra onions would make this soup too oniony, I think.
Bonus – Leeks don’t make your eyes water when you cut them! 👏🏻
Sweet potato – 2 medium ones totalling 1 kg / 2 lb (unpeeled weight), or one gigantic one.
Cumin powder – A spice that really compliments the sweet flavour of sweet potato. Gives this a flavour reminiscent of Moroccan food which you know is a good thing!
Garlic – This soup was never going to happen without garlic!
Butter and oil – Because of the sheer volume of onion and leek that is sautéed, we need 4 tablespoons of fat to cook them. I felt like using just butter makes the soup a little too buttery, but using just oil isn’t as fun. So I took the best of both worlds by using equal amounts of each.😎 You can double up on either of them, if you prefer.
Chicken stock (or vegetable stock) – I know it’s counterintuitive to use chicken stock for an otherwise vegetarian soup. But it really does give the soup deeper flavour than vegetable stock. However, I freely substitute vegetable stock.
Cream – Any dairy cream will work here. Thickened or heavy cream, pure cream, single cream, double cream etc.
Alternatives – I haven’t tried coconut milk or cream but I think they’d work nicely here. Sour cream and yogurt can also be used but they won’t add that touch of creamy mouthfeel that cream gives this soup. I’d rather use an extra knob of butter, personally.
How to make sweet potato soup
I’m a stick blender girl, when it comes to soups. So much less mess than using a blender.
Sauté leek, onion and garlic for 5 minutes until sweet and softened.
Stir sweet potato and cumin for 3 minutes so it’s nicely coated in the flavoured oil and the cumin gets toasted, which brings out the flavour.
Simmer 20 minutes – Add the stock and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid off.
Blitz with a stick blender until smooth.
Stir in cream.
Serve – Ladle into bowls and shower with something crispy! More chat on this below.
I know I said at the beginning that this is a soup that stands on its own two feet. And it does. I drink it by the mugful, plain.
That said, I am a soup toppings gal and I will always encourage you to make soups more interesting with toppers. And wow, yes, we can do something different to the usual croutons and a swirl of cream!!! Today – crispy flatbread ribbons, a sprinkle of pistachio and swish of olive oil. Chosen as a nod to the Moroccan vibes in this soup.
I fried the crispy ribbons – for shooting speed purposes – but they are just as easily baked. Directions in the recipe. – Nagi x
PS And yes, you can absolutely do croutons instead if you prefer. Don’t let me deter you!
Watch how to make it
The Sweet Potato Soup
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 30g / 2 tbsp unsalted butter – or more oil
- 2 onions , diced
- 2 leeks , white and pale green part only, quartered, cut into 1cm / 1/2″ slices (Note 1)
- 2 garlic cloves , chopped
- 1 kg/ 2 lb sweet potato , peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut into 2cm / 0.8″ chunks
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1.25 litre / 1.25 quarts chicken or vegetable stock , low sodium (Note 2)
- 1.5 tsp cooking / kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 cup cream (any type) or an extra knob of butter
Garnishes (Note 3)
- Something to drizzle / dollop – extra virgin olive oil, cream, yogurt, sour cream
- Something crunchy – flatbread strips (pictured, Note 3), croutons, pistachios, pepitas, crispy fried shallots
- Sauté aromatics – Heat the oil and melt the butter in a large heavy based pot over medium heat. Cook the onion, leek and garlic for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the sweet potato and cumin, cook for another 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Simmer 20 minutes – Add the stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 20 minutes at a gentle simmer until the sweet potato is very tender (no lid).
- Blitz – Remove the pot from the stove. Blitz with a hand-held stick until smooth. (Note 4 for blender) Stir in cream.
- Garnish – Ladle into bowls. Drizzle with yogurt, cream or olive oil with a sprinkle of something crunchy – pictured with pistachios and crispy flatbread strips (Note 3).
More cosy bowls of soup
Life of Dozer
Crashed out in his kennel at the end of a big Easter long weekend. (By “big”, I am obviously referring to extreme amounts of food scavenging and play time.)